Phil Kessel Back with the Toronto Maple Leafs
Team: Arizona Coyotes
Position: Right Wing
Cap Hit: $6.8 million (UFA next season)
Contract: 8 team trade list
Imagine having Phil “the Thrill” Kessel back in Toronto for the play-offs? It’s one of those things where if it goes well, he’s cement himself as a Leafs legend, but if it doesn’t end well, the old hot dog jokes will be dusted off and sound like new again for years to come.
Goals have been hard to come by for Phil Kessel this season. Six goals in fifty games is on pace for a career low. However, this season’s Arizona Coyotes are the worst team Kessel’s ever played for by a mile.
Phil Kessel’s offensive stats this season are pretty comparable to Alex Kerfoot, who has one more goal for one more point than Kessel. Kerfoot has spent the season with two great players in John Tavares and William Nylander where as Kessel has played with… the Arizona Coyotes.
Kessel would surely morph back into sniper form returning to a top 6 roll with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
He has exclusively played right wing for virtually his entire NHL career which might be an issue since Toronto is pretty loaded on the right side. I could see Nylander moving to left wing as he has some experience on the left side, but Nylander has had more success on right wing.
Kessel now has a couple Stanley Cup rings and 96 games of play-off experience which could also be helpful. He’s probably the most expensive player that will leave Arizona by the trade deadline and thus the most likely to need salary retention.
The Leafs and Coyotes have already made excellent trade partners this season. Why not hook up for another one?
Kessel does have a trade list of eight teams in his contract. He seemed to love Toronto though and brought the Stanley Cup there during his day with the Cup, so there’s a good chance that Toronto is on his list..